'CONOPS' is the debut release of Chicago duo Drosophila (Michael Stumpf and Carlos Chavarria). The two close friends met in 2018 - a jam-packed, inspiring and prolific year of events at the Options house in Albany Park. Recorded over the winter of 2018-2019, CONOPS is presented in eight succinct, evolving, blistering segments. We are treated to the sonic chemistry these two share - rhythmic in nature, each track is a certified head-banger.
The album dives in headfirst with the anthemic, pulsing noise of "CONOPS1" and "CONOPS2" leading the way. Both the instrumentation and choice of effects on this tape are consistent and feel organic, like a live jam would. Stumpf and Chavarria are focused on making music with what's right in front of them, the shared musicianship of being in the same room at the same time.
Other tracks like "CONOPS5" feature what sounds like vocals processed through external effects, thrown into the cement mixer of sludge that is ever-present. "CONOPS6" swings like jazz before dipping back underground into the recesses of the Options house. The last two tracks on the tape create a certain tension and fidelity depth in the recordings, with a well-timed dripped synth drone towards the end of "CONOPS8", before the last piece of harsh radio-like noise finishes things off. A magical set of recordings comes to a close, marking only the beginning of Drosophila.
From Mark Solotroff (BloodLust!, Anatomy of Habit, BLOODYMINDED): "It's an intense 36 minutes of music, but the payoff with the changes in the last third/quarter is worth getting through the fairly relentless and intense power of the first three quarters. I'm definitely reminded of the early 80s Spanish industrial scene with the way rhythm is used. And then towards the end, I'm actually reminded of some of the earliest Intrinsic Action stuff that we recorded, with shortwave and distortion and room echo. Overall, the pacing is effective, but I especially like the use of space in the last 10 minutes. The mood really shifts to heavy isolation and dread, with jarring stabs of noise."
Available on white cassettes with markings made by the artists.